the winds have changed

Desert winds are strong, but they're not strong enough.

The winds here blow us temperate weather from the sea. Sometimes it's cold and stiff, but even in the biggest windstorms it's not enough to sweep away my regrets or cover up the past. I often worry about that. I've tried all sorts of rituals to give the winds the power to carry memories away--most of them turned out to be nothing more than old wives' tales and meaningless folklore.

I think I kept trying mostly just out of habit. So when the winds shifted from the west to the north, I was surprised, but not hopeful. And then I noticed that the winds were really working as I'd wanted. They were powerful gusts, and bitter cold. They drove everyone from the streets.

They made me forget. Finally, I was at peace. I smiled at night as the winds howled and the lights flickered, while others boarded up their windows and prepared for the worst.

But the winds blew something else with them. People started wandering north, and they couldn't even tell you why, following the whistle of the wind, going ever farther until they found themselves in lands which the summer doesn't touch. They'd settle down there, having forgotten everything but their desire to live here in the taiga.

They would be mourned, but briefly. Those left behind would forget about them soon, too.

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